BARRE, Vt. – Made it across the mountains to one of the most scenic stops in the ACT Late Model Tour. No, scratch that, Thunder Road International Speedbowl is THE most scenic stop on the Tour.

Best yet, as the birthplace of the ACT Late Model itself, the quirky high-banked quarter-mile is made for these cars. If you're only going to hit one short-track race a year, this has to be your stop.

Forty-seven Late Models practiced here on Saturday, and the early word is that there are 49 entered in today's Merchants Bank 150.


It's round two of the ACT Late Model Tour season. Round one was taken by 7-time Tour champion Brian Hoar back at Lee USA Speedway in April. If you're scoring along at home, that's two straight wins for Hoar, who also won the second of two 100-lap Goodyear Speedweeks Cup events at New Smyrna (Fla.) Speedway in February.

Hoar reported that his car was "bad-a** fast" following practice yesterday – which could be bad news for everybody else. Spoke briefly with RPM Motorsports owner Rick Paya, Hoar's crew chief, who backed Hoar's sentiments and said he was very happy with how things went for both Hoar and Austin Theriault.

The annual Champion's Practice rolls off at 10:50, followed by a couple of half-hour ACT Late Model Tour practice sessions. Heat racing begins at 1:30 p.m.. Feature sometime later this afternoon.

– TB